With a 58-55 advantage with 9.7 seconds to go, the Bulldogs fouled as Sharon crossed half court, “well before the Eagles had a chance to think about launching a tying three-pointer.
It worked as the Eagles came up empty on the first shot and had a violation on the second. Canton couldn’t quite put the game away, missing their chances at the free throw line but immediately fouled on the defensive rebound.
Again, the Eagles came up empty from the line and a defensive rebound and free throw from Dillon Nguyen pushed Canton’s lead to 59-55 with 2.1 seconds left, a scoreline that held through the final buzzer.
“We have rules about when to follow under a certain amount of seconds,” Gordy said. “We were up three and we figured if we fouled, they can’t make a three and they can’t tie the game. As long as we know to get the foul at the right time, then fundamental box outs on the free throws, I feel like it’s the right decision every time.
“We had to do it twice because we didn’t get our free throws but finally on the third time, we got it to four and then we don’t foul.”
The Bulldogs had to hold on at the end because of a second half comeback from the hosts. Canton pushed its lead to 14 early in the second half but the Eagles got a boost from an unexpected source.
After Sharon managed just one free throw total in the second quarter, the Bulldogs outscoring the hosts 10-1, head coach Andrew Ferguson went deep into his bench, putting junior Owen Conway and sophomores Ryan Zunenshine and Sam Cohen — who had each played three quarters of the JV came — into the lineup to start the second half.
On Sharon’s very first offensive possession of the second, Cohen splashed an open three and on the next trip down, drained a contested look from downtown, as the Eagle faithful exploded in the stands, an atmosphere usually reserved for the postseason.
Conway took a feed from sophomore John Baez (five points, six rebounds) and converted through the foul. Despite missing the free throw, Zunenshine battled for the offensive board and putback, swinging momentum in favor of the hosts.
Cohen sank another triple and Baez sliced through the Canton zone for two, getting the Eagles within five at 39-34.
“Execution aside, our effort wasn’t good [in the second quarter],” Ferguson said. “I thought waking up the rest of the roster by playing the swing guys there in the third. Sam Cohen did what he’s been doing at the JV level, what he did the year before at the freshman level…he can shoot the basketball. It was good to see that and it woke the rest of the guys up.
“It woke them up and the first unit played their butts off. I told them if they played with that kind of effort in the first and second quarter, we win that game.”
Canton senior Robbie Gallery (16 points, eight rebounds) used a nice move in the post to convert at the time and then found junior Matt Giglio (nine points, seven rebounds) in the same spot for another two in the final moments of the third quarter to stem the momentum some, giving the Bulldogs a 43-34 lead heading into the fourth.
Sharon’s first unit responded to the wake-up call as Matt Baskin (10 points) hit an early three and Baez added one of his own to get the Eagles within one possession.
Gallery came up with a clutch offensive rebound and putback for a traditional three-point play only for Baskin to answer with a similar play. Kiran Chandrasekaran tied the game with a pair of free throws with 3:41 to play but Giglio knocked down a three on the other end to keep Canton ahead, 51-48, with 3:17 to play.
“Hats off to Sharon on senior night, that crowd brought it tonight,” Gordy said. “I think the most impressive part was [Eric] Mischler’s foul trouble and being able to play that game without our best player. He’s been our best player all year, he’s in the top 15 in scoring [in the Hockomock], and I think he played a total of six minutes, if he played that much. To be able to get a win without him was an awesome experience for our guys, guys that have been practicing and working really hard and tonight they got opportunities, and a lot of guys capitalized.”
Mischler, who averaged a team-high 13.8 points per game entering the game and had a career-high 36 point performance three games prior, finished with three points in those limited minutes.
Gallery again scored for Canton and sophomore Lanse Dorcelus (nine points, three rebounds) sank a free throw for a 54-50 lead but Caleb Gayle hit his second straight shot to halve the deficit and Baskin came up with a strong take for a three-point play and a 55-54 lead with 40.1 to go.
On Canton’s next possession, it appeared Andrew Burton (19 points, 10 rebounds) read a handoff but was called for a foul instead of a jump ball. Gallery hit both for a 56-55 lead and the Eagles lost the handle on the other end, leading to two free throws from Dorcelus to push the lead to 58-55, setting up the fouls at the end.
“We didn’t show up for the first half,” Ferguson said. “Mentally and physically, we just didn’t play well. We didn’t share the basketball, we didn’t set screens and that bled into our defense and we started losing guys, stopped communicating like we had talked about. I was glad to see the sophomores get a run there in the third quarter and kind of wake up that first group that needed it.
“In this league, you can’t play for 16 minutes, you have to play for 32 minutes. Against any team in this league, doesn’t matter what their record is, if you don’t play for 32 minutes, you’re going to get beat and that’s what happened to us.”
The Bulldogs had a strong start to the game, shooting 9-for-13 over the first eight minutes of the game. While Mischler and Gallery dealt with early foul trouble, senior Nick Cushman (14 points, six rebounds) gave the Bulldogs a boost with six points in the opening quarter. Six players scored in the first for Canton.
”Cushman has been our unsung hero this year,” Gordy said. “He was slated behind Kyle Fitzgerald and when Kyle got hurt, he went into a starting role and he ran with it. He’s been one of our top guys this year, and he did some good things tonight before he fouled out. Robbie did some good things for us too, he did what a senior captain should do.”
Canton put up 23 points in the first quarter and would have had a big lead if not for a brilliant start for Burton. He scored 15 of Sharon’s 17 points in the opening quarter to keep the Eagles close before Sharon went cold in the second.
Canton boys basketball (2-12 Hockomock, 5-14 overall) is back home on Tuesday against North Attleboro. Sharon (1-13, 1-15) travels to Foxboro on the same day.
SHARON, Mass. – A typical high school basketball game will feature plenty of momentum swings and runs over the course of 32 minutes.
The Sharon and Milford boys basketball teams managed to fit all of the drama into the fourth quarter and overtime on Sunday afternoon. Although the Eagles managed to erase a large second half deficit, and another Milford lead in the final seconds, the Hawks prevailed with a 79-78 overtime victory on the road.
“That was just a classic, wild high school basketball game, that’s the only way to sum it up,” said Milford head coach Paul Seaver.
The Hawks’ lead ballooned to as much as 18 halfway through the third quarter, and the advantage sat at 55-42 with the visitors just eight minutes away from a win.
The Eagles had other plans, however, dominating the fourth quarter to the tune of an 11-0 run over the first four minutes, putting the Hawks’ lead in serious jeopardy. Despite a timeout to try and stop the bleeding, Sharon continued on, pushing the run to 17-0 to seize a four-point lead with two minutes to play.
But as shocking as the run from the Eagles was, so was the response from the Hawks, which was a 9-0 burst in a one minute span, turning a four-point deficit into a five-point lead. Again, Sharon refused to fold by rattling off a 7-2 burst over the final 20 seconds, capped by sophomore John Baez’s ridiculous three-pointer that beat the buzzer to force overtime.
“That was mostly just effort,” said Sharon head coach Andrew Ferguson of the comeback. “We got down 18 points in the third quarter so we called a timeout, switched up our defenses a little bit. The kids worked unbelievably hard on the defensive end, we found some shots on the offensive end with it. But it comes back to their effort and hard work.”
Sharon senior Andrew Burton (24 points, five rebounds, six assists) gave the hosts the lead in the overtime period before Milford senior Colby Pires (19 points, nine rebounds) answered with his fifth three-pointer of the game to put the visitors in front.
Baez knotted the score with a free throw before Ralph Franklin Jr. sank one of his own to put the Hawks back in front. Junior Matt Baskin (career-high 27 points, eight rebounds) sank a pair from the line on one end but a foul on the box out allowed Jordan Darling (22 points, 14 rebounds) to reciprocate on the other end for a 72-71 lead.
Baskin drove through the lane for two more for a lead with 1:20 to play but it was Darling again who had the answer, finishing over good defense down low. Tyler Wetherbee and Darling combined for three free twos as the Hawks’ defense picked up key back-to-back stops on defense.
Caleb Gayle brought the Eagles within two but Ben Blanchard (20 points) converted two huge free throws in the final seconds. Senior Aidan Kane sank a three at the buzzer to bring the final score to a one-point game.
“Give [Sharon] all the credit,” Seaver said. “We played well enough to build a double-digit lead, I think we got it up to 18 at one point. And they are the ones who hit shots in the fourth quarter and more importantly got stops. It took us forever to finally get a basket to fall. At the end of the day, a win is a win in this league. Everybody you play on any given night is good and you have to be ready to go. But a win is a win.”
Blanchard was a big reason that Milford got off to a strong start, hitting three trifectas in the opening eight minutes, slashing to the basket for another two for 11 of Milford’s 20 first quarter points.
The Hawks used an 11-3 burst in the second quarter to create the separation it carried into the fourth quarter. A three-pointer from Kane brought the Eagles within one possession at 22-19 but Darling hit four straight free throws, Pires knocked down a three, Blanchard scored again, and Ralph Franklin Jr. finished at the rim for a 33-22 advantage.
While Milford’s offense continued its normal pace in the third quarter, Sharon got a huge boost from Baskin. The junior wing scored 12 of his points in that quarter, keeping the Eagles within shouting distance entering the fourth quarter. He hit twice from three-point range and had three buckets driving to the hoop.
“We think he can be a very good player in this league and he’s gaining confidence in each practice, in each game,” Ferguson said about Baskin, who transferred into the program this season. “We’re in his ear about it. He creates a lot of mismatches with his height, length, and offensive ability. If they put a big on him, he can take them off the dribble or if they put a smaller guy on him, we can put him in the post and he made some nice post moves today. He really asserted himself for the first time this year.”
Burton sparked the fourth quarter with four straight points and Baez added a free throw. The Eagles took advantage of a foul and a technical foul, making two of the four three throws and Cam Baker (10 points) scored on the ensuing possession to make it 55-51.
“Their zone really slowed us down,” Seaver said. “We tried to get it to the high post, we tried to dump it down and we actually had a lot of good looks from the outside but we just went ice cold for a long stretch. That translated to a poor defensive end during their comeback but credit Sharon. Credit their zone, they did a good job changing the pace on us. In the end, we made one more play, hit one more free throw, and that’s what we needed.”
Kiran Chandrasekaran took a feed from Burton and finished to make it 55-53 and Burton tied the game after a fast break. Burton gave the Eagles the lead with a free throw and Baskin pushed it to 59-55 with a three-pointer with two minutes left.
Pires played the role of hero for the Hawks. After Darling hit a free throw, Pires sank two technical foul free throws and then drained a corner three on the ensuing possession. After the Hawks drew a charge, Pires sank another triple and Milford suddenly had a 64-59 lead.
“Colby is a three-year varsity player, a two-time captain, a two-year starter and he’s kind of the heart and soul of this program,” Seaver said. “He made senior plays and he made winning plays. That’s who he is, that’s what he does and most importantly he showed it on the court today for us.”
Baskin hit two free throws with 20.3 seconds left only for Blanchard to answer with two of his own with 11.5 seconds left. Burton drove to the hoop for two and the Eagles were able to create a turnover on Milford’s inbounds pass. Baez beat the buzzer with a three to force overtime.
“It’s a matter of mentality,” Ferguson said of what can turn games like this into a win. “Yeah, maybe this group hasn’t won a lot of basketball games but they want to win basketball games. We saw that there. I have to coach it better, we have to get a little better with our execution, and we have to maintain our emotions. I think that hurt us today. Hopefully, these experiences are building the confidence that will help us in the long run.”
Milford boys basketball (3-1 Hockomock, 3-1 overall) moves into sole possession of first place in the Davenport with the win and will be back in action on Wednesday against Mansfield. Sharon (0-4, 0-5) will host Taunton on Tuesday in search of its first win.
Canton, 39 @ Franklin, 66 – Final – Franklin denied the visitors a basket in the opening quarter to build a 16-point lead and never looked back, running away with a league win over Canton. The Panthers took a 37-9 advantage in the halftime break with seven players scoring in between the first two quarters and 11 total for the game. Senior Steven Karayan hit three three-pointers while classmate Chris Edgehill sank a pair, combining for half of the Panthers’ 10 three-pointers in the game and tying with a game-high 13 points apiece. Matt Lazarek added 10 points for Franklin while sophomore Lanse Dorcelus paced Canton wight eight points.
North Attleboro, 49 @ Oliver Ames, 59 – Final – Oliver Ames held a double-digit lead in the first half but had to erase a double-digit deficit in the second half to earn a win over the Rocketeers. The Tigers lead 14-4 after eight minutes of play but the Rocketeers answered with 14 points in the second quarter and exploded for 24 points in the third, stretching their lead to as much as 14 in the frame. The Tigers’ clamped down defensively, allowing just seven fourth quarter points while going off for 26 points of their own to get the win. OA junior Amari Brown hit big three and had five of his game-high 19 points in the final quarter while senior Evan Craig scored eight of his 13 points in the fourth. Ryan Burkett added half of his 12 points in the fourth for OA. North Attleboro junior Edan Kelley connected on a pair of triples in North’s big third quarter on his way to a team-high 12 points.
Sharon, 48 @ Mansfield, 73 – Final – For nearly three quarters, the Eagles hung around with state powerhouse Mansfield. Sharon cut the deficit to 46-40 in the second half but the Hornets dominated the final 12 minutes, using a dominant 21-8 fourth quarter to pull away. Junior Matt Boen led the charge for the hosts, scoring a game-high 18 points along with 10 rebounds and three steals, helping Mansfield take a 36-23 lead at halftime. Junior TJ Guy added 15 points and six rebounds in the win while senior Sam Stevens netted 15 points, including a pair of three-pointers. Sharon sophomore John Baez scored all of his team-high 12 points in the second half, including a pair of third-quarter three-pointers to help the Eagles earn a 17-16 edge in the frame. Alex Burton finished with 11 points for the Eagles.
Milford, 60 @ King Philip, 57 – Final – Milford led from start to finish, jumping ahead by as much as 18-points before fending off a second half surge from the host Warriors. Junior Ben Blanchard exploded for a career-high 28 points to pace the visitors, who led 17-13 after one and 33-25 at the halftime break. Blanchard hit a pair of threes and finished with 10 points in the third quarter to help the Hawks build and keep its lead. Junior Jordan Darling, who scored 11 of his 19 points in the second half, drained an important three in the fourth quarter to keep KP at bay. KP senior Andrew McKinney scored 16 of his team-high 20 points after the halftime break, including nine in the third quarter to help the Warriors get back into the game. Senior Alex Fritz hit a trio of second half three-pointers, including one with just 0.6 seconds left to cut Milford’s six point lead in half.
Attleboro, 44 @ Stoughton, 49 – Final – Stoughton used a strong defensive effort and three players in double digits to pick up a second straight win on home court. Aliyah Wright led the way with 14, while Lexi Baptista added 12, and Shyanne Trinh finished with 10.
Franklin, 61 @ Canton, 34 – Final – Sophomore Olivia Quinn scored 22 points to lead the Panthers on the road, her second straight game of at least 20 points. Ali Brigham added 16 for Franklin. Fay and Sydney Gallery scored 15 points apiece for the Bulldogs.
Oliver Ames, 59 @ North Attleboro, 34 – Final – OA used a big second quarter to get separation on North, outscoring the Rocketeers 23-9 to build a 16-point lead at halftime and a 24-point lead heading into the fourth. Caroline Peper scored 12 to pace OA in the win. The Tigers also got nine points from Hailey Bourne and eight each from Caroline Flynn and Kelsey Yelle. North coach Nikki Correia gave her team credit for battling to the end, but the Tigers were too tough in transition. Regan Fein scored 13 for North and Amanda Kaiser added eight.
King Philip, 77 @ Milford, 46 – Final – The Warriors bounced back against Milford by making 12 threes as a team. Faith Roy and Courtney Keswick each scored 13 in the win, while Brianna James and Emma Glaser each scored 11 points. Freshman Emily Sawyer scored 10 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, and blocked six shots for her first career double-double. The Hawks had three players in double digits. Jillian Michelson was the top scorer with 12, while Brooke and Carly Ferreira each had 10 in the loss.
Mansfield/Oliver Ames, 9@ Bishop Feehan, 0 – Final – The Warriors exploded for five goals in the second period to skate to a win over Bishop Feehan, who is in their first year at the varsity level. Freshman Reese Pereira scored a pair of second period goals for MOA.
Franklin, 96 @ Canton, 74 – Final
Stoughton @ Foxboro, 7:00
King Philip, 45 @ Taunton, 48 – Final
Oliver Ames @ Mansfield, 6:00
Franklin, 90 @ Canton, 78 – Final
Stoughton @ Foxboro, 7:00
King Philip, 48 @ Taunton, 40 – Final
Oliver Ames @ Mansfield, 6:00
Boys Indoor Track
Taunton, 47 vs. Attleboro, 53 – Final
Canton, 22 vs. Stoughton, 78 – Final – Canton sophomore Kyle Downing was a double-winner but Stoughton swept the top three spots in six events on its way to a big win. Downing clocked in at 5:05.68 to win the 1 Mile race with junior Jack Hernon (5:05.84) right behind for second place. Downing also won the 2 Mile race in 11:14.16 for the Bulldogs. Junior Jonathan Chery added a second place finish in the 55M dash (6.89) and third in the 300M (38.42), placing top six in the entire league in both events.
Foxboro, 31 vs. Sharon, 65 – Final
Milford, 50 vs. North Attleboro, 49 – Final
Franklin, 29 vs. Mansfield, 71 – Final – Mansfield swept three events, including two won by Andrew Williams, to earn a win over Franklin. The Hornets took the top three spots in the 55M dash, the 55M hurdles, and the long jump with Williams taking first in both the hurdles (8.47) and the long jump (19-11.00). Sophomore Dylan Buchanan (8.80) and sophomore Jake Wall (8.98) completed sweep in the hurdles while senior Joe Cappelletti (19-00.00) and junior Stephen Saba (16-11.25) were second and third, respectively, in the long jump. Williams also took first in the high jump, with a league-meet best leap of 6-04.00. Cappelletti won the 55M dash in 6.94 with Wall taking second (6.96) and senior Ethan Thevenot (7.16) rounding out the top three. Other winners for Mansfield included senior Jack Rivard (300M, 38.02), senior Mike Mullahy (2 Mile, 10:22.44), and junior Nico Holmes (shot put, 42-09.25).
King Philip, 37 vs. Oliver Ames, 62 – Final
Girls Indoor Track
Taunton, 68 vs. Attleboro, 31 – Final – Attleboro earned a sweep in the 1 Mile race but the Tigers took the overall win on Friday night. Junior Kelly Neuendorf (5:38.50) pace the Bombardiers in the 1 Mile race with classmate Kimberley Esteban (5:49.88) taking second and sophomore Madison Ellis (5:54.03) crossing third. Attleboro junior Cassondra Stuger won the 300M in 43.70 and was second in the 55M dash (7.76) while junior Kamsi Igbobi won the shot put (31-04.75) and took second in the long jump (14-00.00) for the Bombardiers.
Canton, 34 vs. Stoughton, 62 – Final – Canton senior Bronwyn Mahoney continued to shine at the shot put, taking first with a league-meet best toss but the Bulldogs suffered a loss to Stoughton. Mahoney had the best throw of her career, a PR at 33-06.25 to take first place. Senior Kayla Wong won a pair of events for Canton, taking first in both the 1 Mile (6:09.83) and the 2 Mile (13:43.25) while sophomore Gabby Herivaux set a new PR in the 300M, crossing first in 46.77.
Foxboro, 37 vs. Sharon, 63 – Final
Milford, 36 vs. North Attleboro, 64 – Final
Franklin, 41 vs. Mansfield, 59 – Final
King Philip, 62 vs. Oliver Ames, 38 – Final
North Attleboro, 138.35 @ Franklin, 133.20 – Final – Franklin sophomore Kate Rudolph was the top Panther in all four events and won the All Around but the Rocketeers picked up a close win in the meet. Rudolph was first in the All Around, edging out North’s Lindsay Robinson (34.95) and Megan Collins (34.1). Rudolph scored a 9.0 on the vault, an 8.25 on bars, an 8.9 on the beam, and an 8.95 on the floor.
Franklin results: Vault – K. Rudolph 9.0, Lexi Lupien 8.9, Maia Keohane 8.3, Maddie McGuire 8.1; Bars – K. Rudolph 8.25, EMma Nelson 8.1, Caroline Woelfel 7.8, Ashley Hamman 7.8; Beam – K. Rudolph 8.9, L. Lupien 8.1, A. Hammann 8.05, E. Nelson 7.9; Floor – K. Rudolph 8.95, C. Woelfel 8.9, A. Hammann 8.1, L. Lupien 8.05.
2018-2019 Record: 18-5 2018-2019 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round Coach: Mark Houle
Attleboro fulfilled high expectations last year with a terrific regular season but had its postseason run cut short in the opening round of the tournament. With an experienced, battle-tested, and deep group of seniors, the Bombardiers are hoping to take the next step during the 2019-2020 season.
The Bombardiers have seven seniors on the roster with six having plenty of valuable minutes at the varsity level. It all starts with a pair of four-year varsity players and captains Bryant Ciccio and Qualeem Charles. Both have played over 60 games for head coach Mark Houle and earned HockomockSports.com First Team honors a year ago. Ciccio (14.7 ppg, 3.2 apg) is like a coach on the floor and Charles (13.8 ppg, 11.2 rpg) is a matchup nightmare and one of the most dominant post players in recent years.
But there is much more to the Bombardiers, such as senior captain Tim Callahan. Callahan had a strong junior season with 7.7 points per game and can change a game with his outside shooting. He will also be relied upon to anchor the defense. Guard Nick McMahon and forward Lorenzo Wilson provided a spark off the bench last season and will be key pieces this season. And senior Jason Weir is back in the mix after missing last year due to injury. Weir showed flashes during his sophomore season, a versatile player that can play in the post or step outside and knock down a three.
Attleboro has a variety of weapons on the offensive end and that will make them difficult to defend. They have a couple of good weapons that can score down low and then a handful of shooters, so the inside-out game will be a big part of the game plan. Charles gives the Bombardiers protection around the rim while all five players are the court will have to contribute on the boards to eliminate second-chance points.
“We will rely on a battle-tested group of seniors, but we will need our underclassman to continue to develop and be ready to step in and play important roles on the team,” said head coach Mark Houle. “We have a hard-working group of players who compete and challenge each other every day in practice.”
2018-2019 Record: 14-10 2018-2019 Finish: Reached D2 South First Round Coach: Ryan Gordy
After winning back-to-back Davenport division titles, the Bulldogs know it will be a grind to try and get a third with a big target on their backs.
Gone is the program’s all-time leading scorer and HockomockSports.com Player of the Year Devin Foster, who was one of the most dynamic offensive players in the league over the past two seasons. That means there is going to be a lot of opportunities for new players to step up for the Bulldogs. Canton head coach Ryan Gordy said this year’s team will be a “much more space and paced” orientated team. Gordy is expecting a more spread out opportunistic approach that will feature contributions from anyone who checks in.
While Foster graduated, the Bulldogs do have a handful of talented and experienced players back on the roster. Senior Kyle Fitzgerald is the top returning scorer from a year ago, netting double figures in six contests. He is also a workhorse on defense and will be one of the leaders on the court. Robbie Gallery, Matt Giglio, and Eric Mischler were all starters at some point during the 2018-2019 season so Gordy will have some veterans to lean on during the year. Gallery, Giglio, and Mischler all showed the ability to come up with a big shot at any time and will help space the floor.
Defensively, the Bulldogs are looking at their versatility and depth to give them flexibility. Gordy believes he has a strong mix of players that will allow him to switch things up and adjust each and every game. Sophomore Lanse Dorcelus earned minutes for the final month of last season and could be a key piece this season.
“We feel like our program is healthy and players have made a commitment to growth,” Gordy said. “This season we are going to focus on the process and maximizing the strengths of our players. Our culture and direction has been a bright spot as we focus on the player person and team development each practice and game. We’re excited to see where we are and where we can get too.”
2018-2019 Record: 14-9 2018-2019 Finish: Reached D2 South First Round Coach: Jon Gibbs
There is good news and bad news when it comes to the Foxboro boys basketball team this season. The good news is that the Warriors expect to once again be one of the toughest defensive teams in the league. The bad news is for the rest of the Hockomock League as Foxboro boasts an improved offense, and combined with their traditional tough defense, has the Warriors in position for a Davenport division title.
With four of their five top scorers back this season, including senior Brandon Borde (team-high 15.3 ppg) and junior Kevin Gallagher (12.9 ppg), the Warriors are looking to ride a balanced approach on offense to improve their scoring after finishing 10th in scoring in the Hockomock League last season (54.4 points per game). Borde is one of the most experienced players back in the league and has the ability to create his own looks as well as lead the team as the floor general. Gallagher had a breakout sophomore season and can really fill up the scoring column, especially from deep.
Borde and Gallagher will also get help from senior Will Morrison, who can catch fire from deep, and senior Ryan Hughes, who can give opponents trouble in the paint. All four players are returning starters from a season ago, so that gives Foxboro an advantage, especially defensively. Head coach Jon Gibbs called the defense the “foundation” of the team. Foxboro has consistently been very fundamentally sound and disciplined on the defensive end.
Seniors Dylan Barreira, Michael Devlin, Liam Devlin, and Donald Rogers all played important minutes last season and will provide a lot of depth for Foxboro.
“We have been making progress each day,” Gibbs said. “Practices have been very competitive so far as guys work hard to carve out a role for themselves by earning the trust of their teammates and coaches. If we stay hungry, humble, and unselfish, it has the potential to be a very successful season.”
2018-2019 Record: 17-6 2018-2019 Finish: Reached D1 Central Quarterfinal Coach: CJ Neely
Ever since the Hockomock League split into two divisions, Franklin has entered each season as one of the top teams in the Kelley-Rex and that looks to be the case yet again this year.
As it does each and every season, defense comes first for the Panthers. Franklin was the best defensive team in the Hockomock League last year, allowing just 48.9 points per game. Not only did the Panthers lead the league in that category, they were the lone team to keep opponents under 50 points on average. It’s the second straight year they’ve had the best defense in the division and third straight year they are in the top three. There are a lot of talented individual defenders on the team but year in and year out, Franklin’s team defense gives them a chance to win.
Offensively, the Panthers boast the top returning scorer in the league in three-year starter Chris Edgehill. Edgehill, who eclipsed the 1,000-point mark last season, is an absolute handful to deal with on the offensive end of the court. He can score in a variety of ways, and on top of that, he is very good at getting teammates involved (four assists per game last year). Seniors Jack Rudolph and Steve Karayan are also back after playing valuable minutes last season and will be relied upon on both ends of the floor.
“We have a lot of guys who worked really hard in the offseason to improve and are excited to get on the court,” said head coach CJ Neely. “It’s a great group of people who have a lot of fun together. We need to stay aggressive and share the ball. We hope that strong team defense will continue to be something that defines our program.”
2018-2019 Record: 7-13 2018-2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Dave DeStefano
With a solid group of players returning from last season, second-year head coach Dave DeStefano is hoping to guide his Warriors back to the state tournament for the first time since 2015.
The Warriors showed flashes throughout last year, including an upset win of Kelley-Rex champions Mansfield on the road. But they were also on the wrong end of a handful of close games, losing five games by five or fewer points. With a year of experience in DeStefano’s system, and for a lot of players their first year of varsity under their belts, King Philip is hoping to turn those close games into wins.
KP boasts two returning starters in Alex Fritz and Andrew McKinney, both standing at 6’3. Fritz had a breakout junior campaign and was the fourth-highest scorer in the Hockomock League with 15.5 points per game. He was able to score in a variety of ways, including through contact at the rim, and will be a vital piece this year. McKinney was fifth on the team in scoring last year, scoring in double-figures in five contests, including a career-high 19 points at Stoughton. Senior Tommy Donahue looks to give the Warriors a strong presence in the post while classmates Owen Conlin and Chris Roy look to be in the mix. Seniors Robbie Jarest and Tom Weir are back in the mix after a year away from the program.
Defensively, King Philip will be relying on its size and physicality. While Donahue (6’5) will be the main rim protector, having long guards and forwards will help KP make life difficult for opponents. The Warriors will need to improve on the defensive end after surrendering a division-high 63.7 points per game last year. DeStefano is looking to get some contributions from junior juniors Donte Barros, Cole Breen, Joe Cullen, Evan Stephens, Will Kinney, and Jake Silveria while sophomores Charlie Grant and Braeden Sottile will likely be in the mix too.
“The boys have really worked hard this offseason,” DeStefano said. “The practices have been really competitive and physical. For us to be successful we will need to make a big commitment on the defensive end of the floor. We want to make our opponents uncomfortable and focus on working together to get stops. On offense we are looking to have a balanced attack and create great scoring opportunities as a team.”
2018-2019 Record: 22-5 2018-2019 Finish: Reached D1 South Final Coach: Mike Vaughan
The Hockomock League continues to run through Mansfield.
The Hornets have won the Kelley-Rex division title in eight of its nine years, and it looks like Mansfield will be the team to beat again this year. Three players that burst onto the scene last year – Sam Stevens, TJ Guy, Matt Boen – are now three of the top players in the Hock heading into this season. Mansfield certainly graduated a lot of talent in Tommy Dooling, Damani Scott, and Khristian Conner, but with those three starters back plus seniors Drew Rooney and Makhi Baskin, as well as a handful of newcomers ready to make an impact, Mansfield is poised for another deep tournament run.
Stevens (11.2 ppg) will be one of the toughest players to stop with his ability to finish around the rim as well as deadly three-point shooting, Guy (10.9 ppg) is very good in the post on both ends of the floor, and Boen (9.5 ppg) can score in a variety of ways. All three are capable of filling up the stat sheet on any given night. Baskin provides a lot of energy and can change the game with his effort while Rooney showed last year that he can matchup with some of the top players in the league on the defensive end.
Juniors Brian and Jason See are both strong shooters that work tirelessly on both ends of the floor and should be in the mix for the Hornets this year. Juniors Jack Colby and Brendan Foley will be looking to bring a spark off the bench while sophomore Matt Hyland and freshman Chris Hill are promising young players that could contribute right away.
“I think our depth and ability to play different styles will be a strength of this team,” said Mansfield head coach Mike Vaughan. “I’m excited to see where this team can get to as they continue to work hard in practice and mix their individual talents to form our team identity. Transition play, scoring inside and out will be strength on offense. Playing solid man to man and uptempo defense with our depth could create some issues for our opponents.”
2018-2019 Record: 9-12 2018-2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Paul Seaver
After a season of ups and downs, the Milford Scarlet Hawks are hoping last year’s growing pains transition into a playoff berth this season.
With a large group of returnees, the Hawks will certainly be in the mix for the Davenport division title. While head coach Paul Seaver returns the majority of his team, he will need some of the those players to step up on the offensive end the fill the void left by graduation. The Hawks graduated its top three scorers, including the second-highest scorer in the league in Brendan White (18.2 ppg). That means there will be a lot of opportunities for new players to step up and contribute.
Junior Jordan Darling (7.6 ppg, 6.2 rpg) and senior Colby Pires (6.1 ppg) are the top two point producers back this year while junior Dom Schofield also returns after starting as a sophomore. Darling started 19 games this year and was selected to the HockomockSports.com All Underclassman team after a strong season on both ends of the court. Pires is a leader both on and off the court and plays well in all aspects of the game, and Schofield gives Milford a strong post presence on the defensive end, recording a team-high 38 charges taken last season.
Ralph Franklin Jr., Matty Varteresian, Tyler Whetherbee, and Ben Blanchard all saw time throughout last season and could all be in line for bigger roles this season.
“Our depth will matter, our balance will matter, our chemistry is this group’s most important attribute,” said Milford head coach Paul Seaver. “We were the youngest team in the league last season and this group has a lot of players back who are attacking this year with a chip on their shoulder. This group defines what Milford basketball is and that’s a testament to who these kids are hard workers and higher character individuals. I could not be any more excited to coach and work with these kids on a daily basis.”
2018-2019 Record: 9-11 2018-2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Sean Mulkerrins
There are going to be a lot of new faces dawning the Big Red uniform this winter. After losing nine seniors to graduation, head coach Sean Mulkerrins has just three players back from last year’s nine-win squad.
With a large amount of new players comes a large amount of opportunities. The Rocketeers graduated its two top scorers but bring back senior Ethan Friberg (7.0 ppg) and junior George Ladd (7.4 ppg) to lead the charge offensively this year. Friberg, standing at 6’5, can cause problems in the paint but also van step out and play along the perimeter. Ladd had a breakout sophomore season and was named to the HockomockSports.com All Underclassman team. He is a little of a throwback player that is very fundamentally sound on the offensive end. Senior Josh Porter, the third returner, saw an expanded role at the end of last season and played well.
Defensively, the Rocketeers will be focusing on limiting opponents to one shot per possession. With some size in the frontcourt, North will try to make it difficult to finish at the rim, and with all five players committed to rebounding, try and minimize second-chance points.
“There will be a lot of new faces with opportunities to make an impact on this year’s team,” Mulkerrins said. “There will definitely be some growing pains and the sooner the new faces adjust to the rigors of varsity basketball, the better we will be.”
2018-2019 Record: 10-12 2018-2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Don Byron
Last season, Oliver Ames came up just one game shy of the state tournament. Goal number one for the 2019-2020 season is to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.
With a strong mix of experienced players and hungry new additions, Oliver Ames is ready for the grind that is the Kelley-Rex division and the Hockomock League.
“The expectation is to always get [to the tournament], that’s our first goal,” said Oliver Ames head coach Don Byron. “We’re pretty optimistic but we know it’s going to be a grind, you have to show up every night, you can’t take a night off.”
Byron has been impressed with his guard play so far this preseason, and that will likely mean featuring three guards in the lineup for the majority of the time. Senior Jay Spillane is a returning starter while classmate Owen Friel and junior Amari Brown were top options off the bench a season ago. Spillane can score in bunches, especially from the outside, while Friel combines a solid shooting game with a hard-nosed defensive approach. Friel’s ability to guard a variety of position makes him a valuable piece in the lineup while Brown is a crafty player that does a nice job getting teammates involved.
Senior center Evan Craig (6’5) will be joined by classmate Ryan Burkett (6’2) in the frontcourt. Both picked up valuable minutes at the varsity level last year and Byron is hoping that will help with their expanded roles this year. Senior guard Adam Cann and junior forwards Trey Buggs and Drew Nickla will provide depth for the Tigers.
“It takes some time to get accustomed to the varsity speed and what we expect at this level,” Byron said. “All of these kids gained experience with us last year, and that year of experience is invaluable.”
2018-2019 Record: 3-17 2018-2019 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Andrew Ferguson
After a couple of down seasons, the Eagles will be making a strong push to get back into the state tournament for the first time since 2016.
Sharon boasts a number of players who gained varsity experience that will be looking to help the program bounce back. The first being senior Aidan Kane, the team’s leading scorer last season with 11.5 points per game. When he’s on from keep, Kane is one of the top three-point shooters in the league. He has the ability to change a game very quickly if he gets hot from deep. Senior Andrew Burton emerged as one of the Eagles’ top players last year and could be poised to have a breakout year. Sophomore John Baez will start at the point after joining the varsity team for the final month and a half last season.
The Eagles will be relying heavily on its frontcourt to step up on both ends of the court. Senior Caleb Gayle is a traditional post player that will compete hard on both ends of the court, senior Cam Baker is fundamentally sound and a reliable option and junior Hank Ward picked up valuable minutes as a sophomore and will be an important part of the rebound game as well as defensively. Senior Aaron Karten will be in the mix as well, giving the Eagles an athletic frontcourt.
Junior Jordan Barboza should give the Eagles a spark off the bench this year and head coach Andrew Ferguson will look for him as an important defensive piece. Kiran Chandrasekaran had flashes of the strong play off the bench last year and should see an expanded role this year, while junior transfer Matt Baskin could provide a needed scoring punch.
“This group has worked tremendously hard in the offseason and the preseason and is looking to translate that into success throughout the regular season,” Ferguson said. “Many of the players have gained valuable experience at the varsity level over the past two years and our senior class are tremendous leaders who provide a great example for our younger players.”
2018-2019 Record: 10-11 2018-2019 Finish: Reached D2 South Preliminary Round Coach: John Gallivan
Stoughton ended its playoff drought last season and with a good amount of those players back again this year, the Davenport division title and a deep playoff run could be in the forecast this season.
The Black Knights have their leading scorer back in 6’5 senior forward Obinna Ugwuakazi, who averaged 14 points and eight rebounds per game with nine double-doubles last year. His athleticism and ability to finish through contact made him a tough matchup for opponents, and he will be at the forefront of the Stoughton offense again this year. Fellow senior Tahkwan Gates Brown, who also stands at 6’5, is also back and we could see the duo play together at times which will certainly make life tough for opponents.
Senior Myles Grigalunas-Powell is back for his third year on varsity. After improving each of the past two seasons, the 2019-2020 season could be a breakout year for Grigalunas-Powell, who can score from three-point range but is also a crafty finisher attacking the rim. Ahmad Jahed had flashes of strong play last year and will be back in the mix again this year, and the same goes for Tommy Sanda. Juniors Brett Pendenza and Jake Queeney are also back after earning some minutes last year.
“We feel like we can score this year both from downtown and from down low,” said Stoughton head coach John Gallivan. “And with our size in the paint, we hope to make it difficult for opponents to score consistently.”
2018-2019 Record: 15-9 2018-2019 Finish: Reached D1 South Semifinal Coach: Charlie Dacey
After a strong regular season, the Taunton boys basketball team flipped a switch in the tournament and made a run to the D1 South Semis, nearly knocking off powerhouse Mansfield. With a taste of postseason success, the Tigers are hoping to replicate that success this year with another impressive playoff stretch.
The Tigers boast speed, skill, and depth this season and will be in the hunt for the Kelley-Rex division title this season. While Taunton lost a lot of production from last year (Lou Vendrell, Mike Quinn, John Martins, Wesner Charles), there are a handful of players battling to earn their chance at minutes in the Tigers’ lineup. One constant in that lineup over the past couple of years is senior Dante Law, who enters his fourth year with the varsity group. Law was Taunton’s leading scorer a year ago with 14.1 points per game but none of the other returners were over five points a game, meaning there will be plenty of opportunity for new players to step up.
Seniors Fabio Goncalves (6’6) and Aiden Pelot, as well as junior Tyler Stewart (6’6) make up the frontcourt for the Tigers. All three played at the varsity level last year and will be key pieces at helping the Tigers defend and win the battle on the boards. Law will be joined by junior Josh Lopes, who showed flashes during his sophomore season, DaeDae Kenion, and sophomore transfer Tristan Herry as key pieces of the offense.
The Tigers are also excited about the depth on the team this year. Junior Danny MacDougall earned starting minutes last year and is a reliable option in a variety of roles while Trent Santos, Logan Lawrence, and Jonathan Torres will all be in the mix for Taunton.
“With this team, press and run should be ‘Plan A’ although there are skills available to play at a slower pace,” said Taunton head coach Charlie Dacey.
Attleboro, 66 @ North Attleboro, 56 – Final – North Attleboro whittled an 18-point second half deficit down to seven midway through the fourth quarter but Attleboro slammed the door shut to secure the non-league victory. A free throw from Mason Houle (14 points, four rebounds) midway through the third put the Bombardiers up 46-28 midway through the third but the Rocketeers closed the third with an 8-0 run to stay within striking distance. Five points from North Attleboro’s Nate Gonsalves (12 points) and a free throw from Josh Porter made it 53-46 but Attleboro’s Nick McMahon answered with a traditional three-point play, and then Kevin Velazquez (nine points, five rebounds) and Bryant Ciccio (17 points, six assists) each hit a three to help the Bombarders pull away. Junior Tim Callahan added 11 points and classmate Qualeem Charles had 10 points, 16 rebounds. North Attleboro sophomore George Ladd finished with a career-high 13 points.
Foxboro, 70 vs. Randolph, 67 – Final – Foxboro junior Brandon Borde turn a turnaround, fadeaway three-pointer at the buzzer to help the Warriors steal a win over the Blue Devils. The two teams traded turnovers in the final 10 seconds, the Warriors getting the last look off the hands of Borde. Borde (11 rebounds) dominated the game for Foxboro, scoring 13 of his career-high 28 points in the third quarter to keep the Warriors in the game. Sophomore Kevin Gallagher added 12 points Foxboro, which trailed after the first (17-12) and second quarters (31-27) but had a strong second half and headed into the fourth tied 51-51.
Franklin, 61 vs. North Andover, 58 – Final – Franklin junior Chris Edgehill scored on a drive to the basket in the second quarter for his 1,000th carer point, becoming the first male Panther player to reach the plateau since Kyle Gibson in 2011. Edgehill finished with 11 points while senior Will Harvey added seven of his career-high 20 points in the fourth quarter. Jalen Samuels, who was named Harvey Nasuti tournament MVP, scored a team-high 15 points while Steve Karayan added five fourth-quarter points to help the Panthers secure the win.
King Philip @ Dartmouth (@ Somerset-Berkley) – Postponed to Tuesday at 5:00.
Mansfield, 57 vs. Lowell, 66 – Final – The Hornets stayed within striking distance throughout the game but couldn’t close the gap against Lowell (18-3). The Hornets trailed by five at half (26-21) but Lowell was able to increase that advantage to 41-32 heading into the final eight minutes. The Red Raiders made eight of their 11 free throws in a 25-point fourth quarter to ice the game. Senior Tommy Dooling, senior Damani Scott, and sophomore Matt Boen each had 12 points for the Hornets while sophomore TJ Guy finished with 11 points and seven rebounds.
Milford, 63 vs. Malden, 66 – Final (OT)
Oliver Ames, 53 vs. Scituate, 67 – Final – Scituate hit seven of its 15 three pointers in the first quarter, racing out to a 25-6 advantage after eight minutes and never looked back. The Sailors shot 50% from deep (7-for-14) to start the game, and finished 15-for-38 from deep to keep the Tigers at bay. After a slow first quarter, Oliver Ames won the final three quarters (47-42), including a strong second half. OA senior Sean O’Brien had a team-high 18 points with Amari Brown and Michael Greene each adding six points.
Sharon, 76 @ Norwood, 66 – Final – Sharon had one of its best offensive games to finish the season, scoring over 20 points in three of the four quarters. The Eagles jumped out to a 22-13 lead at the end of the first quarter but saw its lead shrink to just a point, 33-32, by halftime. Norwood kept within striking distance, down 56-52 heading into the fourth but the Eagles put the game to bed with a strong final frame. Senior Sergio Ripley had a carer-high 14 points, senior Greg Persad, junior Aidan Kane, and freshman John Baez each scored 10 points, and junior Andrew Burton finished with nine points.
Foxboro, 46 vs. Old Rochester, 36 – Final – Click here for a Photo Gallery from this game. Foxboro reaches the final of the Warrior Classic after winning a defensive struggle with the Bulldogs, who came into Monday’s game tied with the Warriors for the top seed in D2 South. Katelyn Mollica scored 14 points to lead the Warriors and Shakirah Ketant added nine points. Foxboro jumped out to a 25-9 lead at halftime, despite struggling from the field, but Old Rochester battled back in the second half and had the lead down to as few as five points in the fourth quarter but the Warriors hit free throws to seal the victory.
King Philip, 50 @ Westwood, 47 – Final – King Philip held off Westwood in the consolation game of the Riley Winter Classic. The Warriors took the lead by outscoring the Wolverines 14-9 in the third quarter and held that lead until the end of a game that went back and forth throughout. Shannon O’Connor scored 11 points to lead the Warriors, while Faye Veilleux and Brainna James each scored 10.
Lowell, 42 @ Mansfield, 51 – Final – Mansfield jumped out to a lead in the first quarter, built it up to 15 by the end of the third quarter, and held on to it in the fourth quarter to earn the non-league win. Sydney Mulkern caught fire from the three-point line, knocking down six from beyond the arc, and finished with 22 points. Maggie Danehy scored 13 points and nine rebounds and Alicia Hottleman added six, all in the first quarter as the Hornets scored 23 as a team.
Foxboro, 4 @ Cardinal Spellman, 3 – Final
Franklin, 4 @ LaSalle Academy (R.I.), 3 – Final
Oliver Ames, 1 @ Westwood, 6 – Final – OA senior Colin Bourne scored the lone goal for the Tigers, with Jake Gottwald and Hunter Costello getting assists.
Taunton, 3 @ Middleboro, 2 – Final – Taunton senior Andrew Carter scored on a penalty shot halfway through the third period to lift the Tigers to a win. Taunton scored first but Middleboro seized a 2-1 advantage by the end of the first. Taunton was able to tie the game and then a covered puck in the crease in the third led to Carter’s game-winning goal, his second goal of the game. Ethan Ross also had a goal while Jack Patneaude, Loren Corcoran, and Evan Perreira each finished with an assist. Sean Bunker made 17 saves to get the win.
SHARON, Mass. – Before Sunday’s matinee meeting between Sharon boys basketball and Norwood, the Eagles honored former longtime coach Basil Cronin, who passed away last year.
Cronin coached basketball at Sharon High for 37 years, including a 17-year stint as varsity head coach from 1983 to 1999. The Eagles won four league titles in the span and climbed to the top of the mountain in 1991 with a Division 2 State Championship.
While this year’s Sharon squad continues to grow, it honored Basil the best it could, orchestrating a gritty come-from-behind 70-66 win over the visiting Mustangs.
“That was the goal, we wanted to get a win after recognizing Coach Cronin,” said current Sharon head coach Andrew Ferguson. “Our freshmen coach Larry Yaffe, who played here for Basil, did such a great job setting everything up. We had a lot of alumni here, Mrs. Cronin was here, so getting a win was really a cherry on top of a great afternoon.”
The Eagles trailed after both the first and third quarters, faced a seven-point deficit early in the fourth, and were behind with under 30 seconds left. Sharon outscored the Mustangs 13-3 over the final three minutes, and 6-1 the final minute, to secure the victory.
Norwood led for the majority of the fourth quarter, answering anytime the Eagles made a bucket to try and get back in the game. With Sharon trailing 63-57, junior Andrew Burton (13 points, eight rebounds) sliced through the defense for a layup. The Eagles got a key stop and Andrew Strong (13 points) converted a pair of free throws to get Sharon within two.
The Mustangs had two chances to extend the lead but couldn’t convert against Sharon’s defense, and Burton hauled in a big defensive rebound and converted on the other end with another strong take to tie it at 63-63 with 1:23 to go.
Sharon briefly took the lead when Burton sank a free throw, but Norwood cashed in on a foul away from the basket, hitting both free throws to retake a 65-64 lead with a minute to go. The Eagles missed on the ensuing possession and even sent Norwood to the line, but the Mustangs only hit one of two free throws.
Ferguson put in a lineup of shooters for the ensuing possession, and the spread offense worked out. The Eagles moved the ball around the court with a lot of off ball movement, the rock ending up in the hands of Ben Kaplan (11 points) in the corner. The senior didn’t hesitate and drained a three to put Sharon up 67-66 with just 22 seconds left.
“It was a three or we’d get someone going downhill for a layup,” Ferguson said. “With the guys we had one the court, we’re able to spread the floor and didn’t have a post presence. We wanted to spread them out and a senior made a big play on a big shot. Aidan is our best shooter but we have enough trust in all the guys on the floor to make that shot.”
Sharon forced a travel on Norwood’s ensuing possession and Aidan Kane (10 points) pushed the lead to two with a free throw. The Mustangs were whistled for an illegal screen on their next possession and Burton iced the game with a pair of free throws in the final seconds.
Norwood had five offensive rebounds in the first quarter and capitalized on the second chances to put together an 11-4 run. Sharon sophomore Kiran Chandrasekaran drained a three in the final seconds to pull the Eagles within four, down 16-12 at the end of one.
Sharon kicked it into gear in the second quarter, opening the frame with a 13-0 run to take the lead. Strong set the tone with a steal and traditional three-point play on the first play of the quarter. Alec Filipkowski added a three pointer, sophomore Hank Ward (eight points, four rebounds) converted a putback, Kaplan got a kind bounce on a corner three and then converted after a Norwood turnover for a 25-16 advantage.
In the third, the Mustangs opened with an 8-2 run to take the lead before Burton scored to take it right back. A Norwood three was answered by a bucket from Chandrasekaran off a feed from freshman John Baez. Senior Alex Kaufmann put the Eagles ahead 42-41 with a traditional three-point play, but the Mustangs closed the quarter with an 8-4 run to seize a 50-45 advantage after three.
“It felt similar to the Walpole game but this time we had to fight back,” Ferguson said. “It shows a lot about these guys, especially the younger guys on the floor for some of those runs. It shows they’re going to be able to step into this spot down the road. And we had a couple of seniors made some big plays for us. It’s a good mix of kids and our younger kids are learning from our seniors. Now we have to take that next step.”
Sharon boys basketball (2-15 overall) will try to make it two in a row when it hosts Foxboro on Tuesday at 6:30.